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article imageIndian government plans visa-on-arrival for Varanasi, Bodh Gaya

By Sravanth Verma     Aug 25, 2014 in Travel
New Delhi - With focus growing on India's tourism sector, the Indian government is working on offering visa-on-arrival facility for tourists from European and other western countries to the tourist hotspots of Varanasi and Bodh Gaya.
The Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Shripad Naik, made the announcement at the inauguration of the 17th convention of Tourist Guides Federation of India (TGFI) in New Delhi. "The tourism ministry is working towards providing visa-on -arrival facility at Varanasi and Bodh Gaya airports to the tourists coming from European and Western countries," Naik said. "Our ministry is already in touch with various other ministries for its earliest implementation," he added.
Naik said tourist guides are the country's "cultural ambassadors" and play a key role in the promotion and growth of the tourism sector in India. The minister said the tourism ministry would introduce a pension and insurance facilities in the near future for guides employed at important tourist spots in the country. "Tourist guides make an important contribution in the image building of the country and when these tourists return to their country, they go back with a positive image of India," he said. "To make guides fluent in a particular language of their choice, the ministry is also willing to introduce special language courses for tourist guides, as fluency in language attracts foreign tourists," he added.
The minister announced that a special plan was being developed for the city of Varanasi, a holy city for Hindus, and a significant tourist destination for domestic and foreign travelers. A large corpus of funds will be used to promote the city. Cleanliness and maintenance will be improved with the participation of the corporate sector.
"An additional fund of INR 70 crore ($12 million) would be spent for tourism promotion of the temple town," he said, adding, "the tourism department would spent a fund of INR 12.5 crore ($2 million) for beautification of 24 railway stations including the Varanasi railway station."
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